Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

ART 2DP3 DigitalPractices

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Chris Myhr


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 328

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23930


Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:30-12:30

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Effectively use a digital camera (i.e. DSLR) in manual mode
  • Understand and apply various software applications for image processing and manipulation 
  • Understand and apply approaches to studio lighting
  • Generate independent project work that demonstrates technical proficiency, thought, and creative responses to project parameters
  • Understand and engage with historical and contemporary photographic discourse
  • Articulate ideas and intent in a thoughtful and professional manner
  • Analyze and provide constructive and critical feedback on the work of others
  • Demonstrate appropriate vocabulary and strategies of assessment for photographic imagery

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • External/USB storage drive  (formatted exFAT or MS-DOS/FAT)
  • Recommended: DSLR camera with manual mode capabilities
  • Recommended: tripod for DSLR camera
  • Any required/supplementary readings will be available on Avenue to Learn in PDF format

IMPORTANT: There is a $50 studio fee required for ART2DP3. This fee will cover the cost of essential materials and printing necessary for completion of this course. Payment must be made to the School of the Arts main office (TSH 414) by Week 2 of the course.

Method of Assessment:

ART 2DP3 is a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of digital photography, including camera operation, image processing, and output for screen/print. Students will work through a series of hands-on technical exercises, in conjunction with independent/collaborative studio projects aimed at exploring the creative/communicative potential of the camera. Studio work will be complemented by a series of lectures, screenings and discussions aimed at developing criticality, conceptual foundations, and familiarity with historical and contemporary discourse surrounding the photographic image in the context of art production.

No prior experience with computer/photographic technology is required, as this course is intended to prepare students for further study and exploration. Access to a limited number of DSLR cameras will be offered, but students are encouraged to acquire their own device. Contact the instructor for more information.

Final grades will be determined through the assessment of studio work, as well as the quality of student
contributions to discussion and presentation/feedback sessions. At least 10% of final grade results will be uploaded to Avenue to Learn by last day for cancelling courses without failure by default. The breakdown is as follows:

10%    Mini Project 1 - Due Jan 23
10%    Mini Project 2 - Due Jan 30
5%    In-Class Exercise Portfolio - Due Jan 16, Feb 6
30%    Major Project 1 - Due Feb 22
30%    Major Project 2 - Due Mar 22
15%    Professionalism and Participation

Each assigned project will include a description outlining overall objectives, specific considerations, submission requirements/formats and deadlines. Student work will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Technical proficiency
  • Conceptual focus and rigour
  • Synthesis and presentation
  • Work ethic and personal investment 

Successful projects will clearly demonstrate effort and attention to three key stages of studio production: research/planning, experimentation/development/creative problem-solving, and refinement/resolution. For more information on the assessment of project work, see the rubric pasted below, and the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn.

Although time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to dedicate a minimum of 6 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations. 

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities. Attendance is essential in a dedicated studio course. Unexcused absence(s) will have a negative impact on project and final grades. See the “ASSIGNMENTS & LATE PENALTIES” section for details.

Students are expected to demonstrate an attitude of respectful criticality and active engagement at all times, and contribute to a collegial and productive learning environment. Student participation will be based on performance during peer critique/presentation and formal screening/reading response sessions. It is recommended that students read the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn for more details on criteria and expectations.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive detailed verbal/written feedback from instructor and/or peers. Extensions for late work, or accommodations for missed tests or tutorials, will be granted only upon the recommendation of a student's home faculty: please take such requests directly to your home faculty's office.

Each unexcused absence, or partial attendance (i.e. early exits from scheduled classes, etc) will result in a 25% penalty on the overall Participation and Professionalism grade.

Recommendations/appeals for extensions will not be accepted on or after project due dates, and must be received no later than 48 hours before the deadline.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Any readings and supplementary material will be available on Avenue to Learn in PDF format

The outline below is for orientation purposes only, and is subject to change. Please consult the full and definitive syllabus posted on Avenue to Learn for any potential updates.

Semester Schedule (Subject to Change):

Week 1 Jan 9
Digital image fundamentals
DSLR nomenclature and setup
Understanding exposure
Manual settings and shooting Demo/Workshop 1
Quick Shoot
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 1 Post production session

Week 2 Jan 16
Manual settings and shooting Demo/Workshop 2
Camera control and aesthetics
In Class Exercise 1
Uploading images/Preview and selection
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 2     Post production session
Assign Mini Project 1
Slide lecture (Time permitting)
In-Class Exercise 1 images due

Week 3 Jan 23
Mini Project 1 due
Quick share session
Camera RAW
Manual settings and shooting Demo/Workshop 3
Quick Shoot
Assign Mini Project 2
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 3
Post production session
Slide lecture (Time permitting)

Week 4 Jan 30
Mini Project 2 due
Quick share session
Portrait lighting introduction and demo
Assign In-Class Exercise 2 and groups
Manual settings and shooting Demo/Workshop 4
Quick shoot
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 4
Post production session
Major Project 1 introduction
Slide lecture (Time permitting)

Week 5 Feb 6
In Class Exercise 2
Image upload/sharing
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 5
Post production session
Quick share session
Major Project 1 review
Slide lecture (Time permitting)
In-Class Exercise 2 images due

Week 6 Feb 13
Major Project 1 RAW images due
Understanding resolution/bit depth
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 6
Work/consultation/printing session
Major Project 2 introduction
Slide lecture (Time permitting)

Feb 20
Midterm Recess
Major Project 1 final images due (12pm Wednesday, Feb 22)

Week 7 Feb 27
Project 1 Project Statements due
Project 1 critique (Round 1)
Major Project 2 review

Week 8 Mar 6
Project 1 critique (Round 2)
Major Project 2 review

Week 9 Mar 13
Manual settings and shooting Demo/Workshop 5
Quick shoot
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 7
Post production session

Week 10 Mar 20
Major Project 1 RAW images due
Photoshop Demo/Workshop 8
Work/consultation/printing session
Major Project 2 final images due (12pm Wednesday, Mar 22)
Week 11 Mar 27
Project 2 Project Statements due
Project 2 critique (Round 1)

Week 12 Apr 3
Project 2 critique (Round 2)
Course consolidation